We’ve Got Cows

Twister is the party game popular for its flexibility… just kidding. Twister is actually the craziest tornado movie I’ve ever seen. It’s the quintessential tornado themed blockbuster released in the disaster movie resurgence of the 90’s. I first watched Twister during my sophomore year of high school. Although its science is questionable, it was one of the many natural disaster movies we watched. Twister takes the very risky profession of storm chasing and makes it personal.

Helen Hunt plays Jo, a woman who dedicates her life to hunting tornados after one killed her father. The great Bill Paxton is her husband and fellow storm chaser also named Bill. They’re getting a divorce for two reasons, one is to argue frequently and the other is to have his psychiatrist girlfriend there to explain tornado terminology to (and say “We’ve got cows”). Their team is just as crazy as they are. Although it’s mostly just Philip Seymour Hoffman doing his early frat bro thing. The main personal conflict is between them and the evil corporate storm chasers lead by Cary Elwes. Both teams are attempting to launch a tornado analyzing device called DOROTHY into the eye of the storm.

But none of that’s as important as the real stars of the movie. The tornadoes in Twister are a crazy spectacle that wreck a ton of havoc. Tornadoes suck up a dangerous amount of debris including cows. Characters experience several tornadoes in open fields and one in a drive-in for The Shining. The most ridiculously over-the-top tornado by far is the serious F5 that Jo & Bill somehow manage to out run and survive long enough to see the eye. Twister puts an exciting spin on disaster.

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Jo and Bill run from a tornado

Ark Building for Dummies

Evan Almighty was for a long time the most expensive comedy ever made. Despite it being yet another Jim Carrey-less sequel. To fill his void, Steve Carell’s breakout character Evan Baxter is now the main character. Of course this was now long after Carell proved himself as a comedy lead. I say most expensive comedy, but Evan Almighty is pretty much completely void of laughter. Steve Carell’s brand of humor is lacking here. Everything is brought down by the family friendly PG rating and overreliance on juvenile jokes. As well as failed stand up from Wanda Sykes.

Evan Almighty is just not as original as Bruce Almighty. It’s just the story of Noah in the modern age. Although I appreciate any use of Bible stories, a lackluster comedy sequel is just not the place to use it. Evan Almighty brings Evan, his wife, and three sons to Washington where he becomes a Congressman. I’m sure complex congressional jargon is just what the kiddies want to see. Morgan Freeman reappears as God to deliver the message of Genesis 6:14 to Evan. Along with gopher wood, two of every animal, and increased hair growth ripped off from The Santa Clause.

The all-star cast is wasted and the late 2000’s environmental message is getting old. The impressive factually accurate construction of the Ark and use of hundreds of animals is commendable on the other hand. As is the flood that follows. I just wish they could have been used in a genuine Christian retelling of Noah’s Ark. Evan Almighty means well, but this is why Jim Carrey comedies should be left alone.

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Evan builds an ark

Spin-off of: Bruce Almighty

Total Destruction

Rampage is the movie everyone thought would break the video game curse. Against all odds… it wasn’t. Although it is the best reviewed movie based on a video game. 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, which still isn’t saying much. It seems like big special effects and a big star like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson aren’t enough sometimes. I didn’t see Rampage on the big screen. Though I probably should have since its city destroying is the only thing to look forward to in the movie. I actually went to see Truth or Dare, while my brother went to see Rampage. The only time we ever saw 2 different movies simultaneously, but it seems neither of us got to see anything great. Rampage is based on a series of old video games I’ve never heard of or played. Where the objective is to simply destroy buildings. It featured a trio of giant animals; George the gorilla, Ralph the wolf, and Lizzie the lizard. Although in the movie George is changed from a brown ape to an albino ape. In order to avoid King Kong comparisons. While all of the action takes place in Chicago with Dwayne Johnson’s character trying to look after George. For me the biggest problem with the movie is how long it takes to get to the destruction. As well as wasting most of the actor’s talent on a weak script. Like my brother, you might find some enjoyment in it, but for me Rampage barely packs a punch.

George wrecks Chicago

P.S. I’d much rather see an adaptation of the 2003 PlayStation 2 game War of the Monsters.

They Just Kept Building it Higher

The Towering Inferno is when disaster movies were at their peak. Both literally and figuratively. After watching another hugely successful 70’s disaster movie (The Poseidon Adventure), my mom told me that we had to watch The Towering Inferno. Arguably the top disaster movie to come out of that decade. Since it was the only one nominated for Best Picture among 7 other Oscar nominations. A feat it more than earns considering its nearly 3 hour runtime and all-star cast that includes Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, and Fred Astaire. Like the aforementioned Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno also won for Best Original Song. “We May Never Love like this Again” also sung by Maureen McGovern. The Towering Inferno is set in the tallest building in the world dubbed the Glass Tower. Its disaster is a fire that erupts throughout the building. Trapping party guests on the very top floor of the 138 story tower. Something that only happened because the contractor cut conners. So the fire department has to somehow figure out a way to get people out and put out the uncontrollable fire. Which sounds like an even bigger nightmare then dealing with water. Sadly we don’t have to imagine it, because something very similar happened on 9/11. That’s why The Towering Inferno is dedicated to the brave firefighters working everyday to keep us safe from disaster.

The Glass Tower burns

Tremendous Pressure

Poseidon is the 2006 remake of The Poseidon Adventure that was only made because effects have improved. I remember when this remake came out. The only thing I knew was that it was nominated for Best Visual Effects. With realistic effects used for the sinking ship and most of the disaster sequences. Apparently it even holds a record for the most detailed CGI model ever. As the ship features a boatload of detail on its exterior shots. That’s where the positive reception stops.

Since Poseidon was a disaster critically and at the box office. The basic premise of a New Year’s gone wrong is the same. The only differences are the characters and how they try to escape. While all the effort was put into the effects. Almost no effort seems to have been put into the characters. This group consists of a father who doesn’t like her daughter’s boyfriend, a guy who likes a single mother, the jerk you know is gonna die, a depressed guy, and a claustrophobic woman.

They’re all very cliché and sometimes completely unlikable. With lousy dialogue and poorly executed death scenes. Then again, just about every modern disaster movie has this problem. Almost like the 70’s was the only decade that truly understood movies like this. In the end, Poseidon prioritizes flashy visuals over heart and a powerful song.

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The Poseidon fills with water

Remake of: The Poseidon Adventure

Sunken Ship

Have you ever wanted to see what happened after the Poseidon sank? No… well this is Beyond the Poseidon Adventure. The pointless sequel made for The Poseidon Adventure that doesn’t add anything we needed to see. Not even the likes of Michael Caine and Sally Fields keep it from being a 0% bomb. It’s also the director Irwin Allen’s only disaster movie at the time not to be nominated for an Oscar. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure takes place the day after the SS Poseidon was overturned.

Only this time it follows the people on the outside. Specifically a group of scavengers and a group of not medics who enter the ship. When they find more survivors on the inside, the movie pretty much just becomes a redo of everything from the original, in reverse. All deaths are predictable and none of the new characters are worth caring about. Plus they add an unnecessary terrorist plot to the story. Beyond the Poseidon Adventure came at the very end of the 70’s and is essentially responsible for ending the disaster movie trend. There’s just no morning after to be found for this unnecessary sequel.

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The survivors escape the Poseidon

Preceded by: The Poseidon Adventure

There’s Got to Be a Morning After

The Poseidon Adventure came when disaster movies were at their peak. Back in the early to mid 70’s, disaster movies were the hottest thing in Hollywood. They were the equivalent of superhero movies today. Just about any natural or man-made disaster was done for better or for worse.

The Poseidon Adventure is easily one of the best and most well remembered. Its natural disaster is a tsunami (tidal wave) that overturns an ocean liner named the SS Poseidon. It takes place on New Year’s Eve and follows a small group of survivors trying to escape. Including a reverend, a police officer and his wife, an elderly Jewish couple, a girl and her kid brother, a bachelor, a singer, and a waiter. Unlike most newer disaster movies that I’ve seen, I actually cared about these characters enough to hope they make it out alive.

Most of the dangers involve trying to make it to the top while avoiding the rising water. It’s certainly impressive how they were able to turn the ship upside down. Earning the movie an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. As well as Best Original Song for “The Morning After.” An iconic song that I knew long before seeing the movie. I’ve never been on a ship, but I know if I was ever in this situation I’d do whatever I can to survive. The Poseidon Adventure is a splash hit.

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The S.S. Poseidon becomes engulfed in water

Followed by: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure

Don’t Trust the Monkey

I watched Outbreak in my 8th grade science class. At the time we were studying infectious diseases. Specifically Ebola, the worst viral disease of them all. I hadn’t heard of it prior to then and it freaked me out when I discovered what it could do to you. You can imagine how terrified I was when the 2014 Ebola outbreak happened. Outbreak was the perfect movie for us to watch, because it was made back when a similar Ebola outbreak was happening. Although Outbreak is actually about a fictional virus called Motaba. A deadly disease that spreads to the U.S. when a capuchin monkey is smuggled into the country. So it’s up to medical scientists and the military to end the outbreak before it wipes out half the country. Outbreak is the worst kind of disaster movie. An unseen lethal virus that spreads through the air. It’s a truly terrifying thing to imagine, but we don’t have to imagine it. Outbreak could happen in real life, God forbid. As a movie, Outbreak isn’t too exciting. It’s really the idea that’s better than the execution of it. Outbreak is better as an educational cautionary tale.

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Colonel Daniels (right) and his men keep themselves contained

The Wave That Wiped Out the World

2012 has an interesting history. It’s a movie about the supposed end of the world that was supposed to happen on December 21, 2012, but the movie was released in 2009. I remember when so many people actually thought the world was going to end. Just because the Mayan calendar cuts off at that date in 2012. So when I heard of the movie 2012, I was like, seriously? I even watched it in 2013 just to prove a point. Roland Emmerich, the man responsible for so many other disaster movies, directed it. Bringing in his usual cliches of having a lot of characters, different people coming together in the end, and landmarks being destroyed. Most of the characters have paper thin personalities and just feel like walking tropes. The only positive I can say about the movie is the visual effects are pretty spectacular. Especially when Los Angeles gets destroyed. The ending wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Then again I didn’t know what to expect from a movie about a day that wouldn’t come for another 3 years. 2012 now works best as a silly reminder of something that never happened.

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Los Angeles plunges into the ocean

In Loving Memory

World Trade Center is a 2006 film about the terrorist attack which occurred on September 11, 2001. An event which occurred 16 years ago today. I was only 6 years old when it happened. Most people my age remember exactly what they were doing when it happened. I don’t know why, but I actually don’t really remember what I was doing or how I felt. I think I was too young to understand how the world worked. It took me a few years to fully grasp the circumstances of what happened. I first saw this movie in middle school as part of my social studies class. I had never even heard of the movie before that moment. The movie kind of flew under the radar despite being an Oliver Stone movie. There are a lot of familiar faces here. All of which come together to make a moving film about tragedy, survival, and the courage the police and firefighters had at the time. It’s probably the most well made movie about 9/11. A day I, as an American, will never forget.

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Sgt. McLoughlin (right) and Officer Jimeno (left) look up at the devastation